Label: Blackened Death Records
Release Date: December 8th 2017
Genre: Black Metal
Working at a prolific rate, Abandoned by Light have released six albums since the inception of the project in 2013. The latest And Here I Stand Betwixt Light and Dark was released towards the end of last year and is the conclusion of a trilogy of loosely connected records, preceded by Melancholia and As Witness to the passing of Aeons. All this is the work of one man who goes by the name Karhmul and currently resides in Sheffield. The Music is unmistakably entrenched in the sounds of Black Metal, whilst injecting some slightly more melodic ambient sections.
Karmuhl looks the part, replete with Corpse Paint and dark clothing. The subject matter of the songs is also much as you’d expect, featuring Apocalyptic visions of death and destruction with a focus on the depressive aspects of existence, ‘jaded eyes and melancholic thoughts, growing ever colder, dejected and lifeless.’ The album begins with a dark sounding ambient piece ‘Caressed by Dying Embers’, which incorporates the crackling sound of fire against elongated synth like chords.
The contrast between the opener and the subsequent track is quite stark which works well. ‘Trepidation’ goes straight in with a strong riff and the song utilises many recognisable Black Metal tropes; picked distorted guitar, hoarse and screech like vocals and drums that veer between a slow lumbering pace and the frenzy of blast beats.
This formula is largely deployed for most of the album though ‘Summoning Annihilation from Inferno’s Maw’ does have the addition off a slightly off kilter piano part which changes things up a bit. ‘Journey through the Everlasting kingdom of Bone, Eclipsed by the Bloodied Moon’ also revisits the ambient sounds, interspersing them between more thrashy drums and guitar, again to good effect. The title track is a 14 minute epic presented in two parts, Light and Dark. Here again the confluence of more subtle sounding parts and the full on piercing nature of the riffs and vocals largely comes together.
The album is good at ramping up the atmosphere of gloom as very long songs utilise often repetitive motifs. However this is also an issue I had whilst listening to this record, it can be hard to maintain interest in such lengthy pieces. Conceptually the album successfully brings off the interplay between the heavier more aggressive sections and the pared down ambient atmospherics of the quieter parts. The title is pretty well realised sonically but it felt at times as the if the album was more of an endurance test than enjoyable listen. Still Black Metal isn’t generally aiming for radio friendly listenability and the the album is a competently structured piece. Karhmuhl will doubtless continue to develop his sound and deserves success for his sheer work ethic alone.
Recommended Track: Turning towards the Black Cascade